View Full Version : looking into a 48ft sea ray help!!

blue boat
08-02-2011, 06:26 PM
Boat is 20 years old has about thousand hours on detroits (6v92). Body looks good for the age. question is it has not run in two years would you think this is a problem? I have talked to a couple of boaters they say that this is one of the best marine engines to have, that wouldn't be a bother to me.You will die before it will.:nilly: driving me nuts buy it or not:bonk:If I go for it he will have to throw it in the water and run the engines.

08-02-2011, 06:32 PM
get a survey

i would be more concerned with the hull structure etc than the motors

for what the boat is worth a survey is cheap insurance, plus your insurance may want it done to do a policy for you

good luck

08-02-2011, 07:51 PM
I've heard from more than one source that at some time in the past, Searay balsa cored their hulls and over time could take on a very large amount of water in the coring. According to these sources, Searay went to an non-organic core material and ended the problem.
I' have no idea if this boat would be so built, but it could be a good question to ask.
I suppose a good survey would reveal such a problem.

08-02-2011, 11:14 PM
Sea Ray absolutely balsa cored some of their larger hulls and yes, they had some major problems with them. Somewhere at the office I've probably still got copies of an old magazine article where they cut into a 40' hull and drained 10+ gallons of water out of the core.

From what I understand they've done away with the balsa now, but I haven't gotten a fully straight answer on that yet. I'll need to do that....seems we just signed as the newest Sea Ray and Meridian dealer. This will be a BIG change from Carver and Marquis!

08-02-2011, 11:15 PM
Oh, and in case it wasn't clear from everybody else-


Best money you'll ever spend on the boat!

08-03-2011, 08:35 AM
I am a former yacht broker, the best advice is to contact a few surveyors. There were a few bad years where they used interior plywood in the stringers, those boats were a disaster. That being said the other glaring fact about Searay's is the market is flooded with them, they were and still are a real tough sell. Go on BUC or Yacht World they out weigh all others, I got to the point of not listing them unless they were give a ways.

08-03-2011, 09:13 AM
get a survey

i would be more concerned with the hull structure etc than the motors

for what the boat is worth a survey is cheap insurance, plus your insurance may want it done to do a policy for you

good luck

Shea with the big diesel boats it is far more prudent to survey the engines first, a rebuild on a pair of 92's can run $40,000 or more. Detroit's can fool you listening to them, they can run strong sound good and a have good compression but when you pull the covers and inspect the cylinders the bores can look like farm furrows. Engine surveys run about 1/3 the cost of a full survey, if you do the whole boat at once you have some decent coin invested. It is much easier to walk away fro 1/3 the cost then than the full survey cost, to protect my clients I always insisted on a split survey doing the engines first. If the deal blew up due to tired engines the client had confidence in me to go on to another boat, I have seen many associates loose clients by not protecting them, people get real sour over $$$$.

08-03-2011, 09:27 AM
[quote=If I go for it he will have to throw it in the water and run the engines.[/quote]

The engines can have a pretty good inspection sitting on the blocks, Detroits have side covers that allow visual inspection of the bores. Also the chambers can be looked at with a bore scope, you will have a good idea with about 1-1/2 hours work without ever starting them up. All the hoses need a good going over as it costs about $3,000 to do a complete re-hose job. If you do end up getting it to the water run it and pull oil samples on engines, transmissions and generator they are very conclusive as to engine condition that you can see without a tear down. It is very easy to be lead to a slaughter dollar wise be very cautious.

08-03-2011, 09:39 AM
just because i really don't know

what sort of tests do they do on the oil and what does it show?

08-03-2011, 09:46 AM
just because i really don't know

what sort of tests do they do on the oil and what does it show?

Just like an industrial oil analysis (say hydraulic fluid for example), there are all sorts of things they look for in oil that can give you a heads up on a problem that you wouldn't otherwise detect until it's perhaps, too late.

Oil Analysis
•Oil Analysis Pinpoints Engine Performance Issues
•Condition-Based Maintenance Pinpoints Four Biggest Engine Killers
•Testing Confirms When to Extend Recommended Drain Intervals
•Filter Analysis Tells You Things Your Oil Can't
•Condition-Based Maintenance
•Optimizing Drain Intervals Using TBN vs. TAN
•Fuel Dilution Testing Changes
•PQ vs DR
•Test Diesel Engines For Base Number, Natural Gas Engines For Acid Number
•Program Goals Determine Basic or Advanced Testing
•Always Pull Samples From Turbulent Zones
•Analytical Ferrography Tells “the Rest of the Story”
•How to Take an Oil Sample
•ICP Could Be Telling Only Half the Story
•Identify Optimal CJ-4 Drain Intervals
•New Lube Reference Gives Test Results and Recommendations More Meaning
•Direct Read Ferrography vs. Particle Count
•The Importance of Lubricant Time for Proper Oil Analysis
•Water Separability - Oil and Water DO Mix
•Effectively Monitor Soot Levels in EGR Engines
•Particle Count - When to Use it and Why?
•Decoding the ISO Cleanliness Code
•RPVOT Safely Determines Remaining Useful Life of Turbine Oils


I thought those would paste as clickable links. If you go to the link I posted you can read in to all of these different bullet points.

08-03-2011, 09:48 AM
and yet another cut and paste:

The debate over the use of balsa cores in boat bottoms seems recently to have come to an end when, in October, 2002, Powerboat Reports ran a piece entitled "Core Complaints". Purporting to be an editorial, when in fact the piece ran five pages and is a full-blown article, including a response from Sea Ray to a PBR inquiry for Sea Ray's response to allegations of serious problems with the use of balsa core in the bottom of their boats 40 to 55 feet built from 1995 to 2002.
by (1) blaming some marine surveyors for "providing a lot of incorrect information during the process"; (2) claiming that balsa is widely used by many boat builders (without specifying where they use it); (3) that balsa is "tried and tested [by Sea Ray]"; (4) that balsa core is "recognized, certified around the world [by] Lloyds Register of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, American Bureau of Shipping ...." and others.

Unfortunately, as respects item #4 above, the Sea Ray response fails to mention that those classification societies attach very strict rules to the use of balsa construction, standards that I'm certain that Sea Ray does not meet. Because, if Sea Ray did meet those standards, they would surely have applied for certification from one or more of those societies. Since they claim no such certification, we can be sure that they don't have it. Meanwhile, two large yacht builders that do successfully use balsa on bottoms DO carry the ABS certification, and one Lloyds as well. It costs a small fortune to attain those certs, which is why no production builder ever bothers.

Sea Ray goes on to say that, "if the source of water ingress is located and repaired in a timely manner, the balsa core will dry out and be fine." Un huh. And in response to recommendations of most marine surveyors that repairs be carried out by removing and replacing the wet and/or rotted balsa core, Sea Ray says that this procedure would likely cause more damage than its worth. All of which sounds very much like an argument to do nothing short of finding a way to let a saturated hull naturally dry out.

Separately, Sea Ray issued a memorandum which includes a copy of a letter that I wrote to Baltec in 1996, in which I discussed the qualities of balsa as a core and found them superior to the foams that were being used at the time. In 1996 Baltec's public relations reproduced the letter, copy of which Sea Ray attached and quoted from in the memorandum to all Sea Ray dealers and which has since had wide distribution beyond dealers. Indeed, it is being used as a defense of balsa cored hull bottoms against Sea Ray owner complaints.

Once this was brought to my attention, it became clear to me that I made a mistake in that 1996 letter by not differentiating my views on the use of balsa in a boat's upper structures versus boat bottoms.

I will state for the record here that I have NEVER endorsed the use of balsa cores in boat bottoms, nor any other type of core materials. Indeed, virtually all the core-related articles on this web site should make that painfully clear. Nor can the writer of that Sea Ray memorandum claim that he is ignorant of my views on bottom coring. That's because I had received a letter from him that indicated that Sea Ray personnel monitors our web site, as do most other builders.

In Sea Ray's defense it has become clear that the company has monitored our web site over the years and has taken note of complaints about certain issues that we have written about, and in ensuing years we have noted that more than a few of such complaints were remedied. Good for them and good for their customers.

I have no problem with giving credit where credit is due. However, I have long warned boat buyers about the dangers of balsa cores in boat bottoms going all the way back to 1966 when I first became aware of how catastrophic water intrusion into a cored bottom could be. I had hoped that Sea Ray would pick up on that one also, but, alas, they did not until it came back and bit them hard on the backside. In fact, both balsa and foam cored bottom failures were a well-known problem throughout the 1960's and 1970's, so much so that I ridiculed Sea Ray for adopting a practice that resulted in horrific problems over the course of two preceding decades, debacles from which most everyone in the boat building industry learned a lesson - some the hard way, others by observance of other's mistakes. Everyone, that is, except the good folks at Sea Ray. Then, as I hear it, Cruisers, Inc., and others jumped on the band wagon and started putting balsa in their boat bottoms.

Frankly, I couldn't believe that "designers" at such large corporations could be so ignorant until I discovered just what kind of people were designing boats at Sea Ray and the others. No more degreed naval architects but industrial engineers and CAD operators with little or no marine experience. Does that mean that no highly experienced naval architect would ever use a balsa core in a boat bottom? It does not because I can name several that do. Huckins and Cresent Yachts, both builders of large multi-million dollar yachts have used balsa cores on bottoms, and have done so successfully.

Yet there is an important caveat to this point: Balsa can be successfully used as a core, but only with extreme care in design and application. The extreme care that can only come from the minds of the highly experienced. Moreover, successful design and use of balsa as a bottom core is not cheap; it adds greatly to the cost of design and construction. But production boat builders do not use cores to improve strength but to reduce the cost of the amount of fiberglass used because balsa is cheaper than solid FRP.

And even though a real expert can create a reliable balsa cored hull, I still think that this is a terrible idea because if the hull becomes damaged and water intrusion does occur, the damage is extraordinarily costly, and sometimes even impossible to repair. But to use the material in a high production operation is plain nuts when there is so much emphasis on reducing labor costs. Great skill and low wages are contradictory factors. For example, I surveyed one brand new, never titled model 550 in which there were two holes drilled through the inside skin near the keel line, a feature that would drain water directly into the core. How did those holes get there? Obvious some worker at Sea Ray had to have drilled them for reasons one can only guess at.

But the point is clear: Even if designed and constructed perfectly, there is still plenty of room for the unanticipated event happening to wreck the boat through no fault of the owner. When we compare the potential risks of a cored bottom with a solid glass bottom, the former makes about as much sense as trying to fly an aircraft with only half a wing, or going to sea without communications.

Myself and many other surveyors have been involved with numerous failed bottom cores of Sea Rays and can testify that Sea Ray's use of balsa in their hulls is highly flawed, and often lacks even common sense in its application and design. Though Sea Ray claims thirty years of successful use of balsa in upper structures, there isn't an experienced surveyor around who couldn't list endless examples of rotten deck cores in Sea Rays. Not only deck cores, but Sea Ray can't even get the use of plywood in hull stringers right, as this web site has repeatedly documented. There are uncountable numbers of older Sea Rays (10+ years) out there with rotting plywood stringers, a problem that few other boat builders who use the material have had.

This disaster that Sea Ray has created is not getting the publicity it deserves for a variety of reasons. One is, as Powerboat Reports indicates, that Sea Ray, in settling lawsuits, is obtaining non disclosure agreements in the terms of settlement, a common practice by corporate lawyers in product liability cases. Naturally, Sea Ray is doing all it can to keep it quiet. Another stems from the attitudes of the troubled boat owners. When you've got a huge sum of money tied up in a defective product, you don't want to advertise that fact. If the owner fails to get a satisfactory settlement, he's going to want to sell the boat to some other unsuspecting buyer so that he can recover some of his money. When the defect becomes common knowledge, the value of the boat will plummet.

There's just one small problem with that: It is illegal to knowingly sell a defective product to someone. It's called fraud.

So it ends up that marine surveyors are caught in the line of fire between boat owners and the builders. On the one hand the builders want to discredit the surveyors and/or shut them up. On the other, boat buyers want to avoid buying into the problem, but should they end up with a problem, they want to silence the surveyors as well. Both sides shoot the messenger!

Sea Ray was in trouble long before this debacle because their since replaced management thought that boom times would last forever, and expanded production capacity to keep up with the economic bubble (a management error that is predictable as the changing of the seasons and which has brought down numerous boat builders). Now Sea Ray has hundreds, perhaps thousands of ticking time bombs (balsa cored boat bottoms) out there waiting to explode. Will Sea Ray survive the mistake? Only time will tell, but meantime I wouldn't make any bets on Brunswick stock.

Related Reading:
Cored Hull Bottoms: The Final Word - Posted July 12, 2001
Core Materials: The Hamburger Helper of Boat Building, Reviewed in the Light of History - Posted October 31, 1998

blue boat
08-03-2011, 04:50 PM
thank you guy's for your expertise. Maybe I will just stay with my 18' Donzi